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Looking for big hypoallergenic dogs that don’t shed a lot? There’s a lot to think about when you decide to add a big dog to your family. You must consider your new dog’s size, temperament, and energy level. You also probably want to go with a breed that you find attractive and endearing.
But while most dedicated and thoughtful dog owners consider these types of characteristics carefully when choosing a dog, they often fail to think about a few other important factors, such as the amount of hair the dog will shed.
Although, if you’re reading this article, you’re likely factoring non-shedding hypoallergenic dogs into your decision process and looking for large dogs that don’t shed (or at least, badly).
We’ve got you covered with a list of 13 low shedding large dogs!
Are There Really Big Dogs That Don’t Shed?
It is natural for a dog of any size, not just big dog breeds, to lose their old or damaged hair through shedding. So it is more about the frequency of their shedding that you want to take a closer look at while also taking into account their overall health and breed size.
The Non-Shedding Large Dog Myth
Because dog shedding can be so infuriating, many owners set out to purchase large non-shedding dogs. Breeders often call these “hypoallergenic dogs” and explain that large hypoallergenic dog breeds don’t shed hair. But while this would certainly be a desirable trait, the hypoallergenic dog breeds label is misleading.
All dogs – in fact, all animals – shed dead skin cells and the vast majority of the hair or feathers they possess (although specialized hairs like whiskers may be retained). This is a biological imperative – as skin and hair cells wear out and begin to break down, they are jettisoned to make room for new ones.
Snakes, insects, and crustaceans are famous for doing this in dramatic fashion at discrete times, but mammals (including you) shed in tiny amounts, more-or-less continuously.
However, this does not mean that all dogs shed in similar quantities; some dogs are heavier shedders than others are.
READ MORE: Do Labs Shed? How Much and When?
So, while all big dog breeds shed hair and produce proteins that can trigger allergies, there are a few large dogs that are good for owners with allergies. These large hypoallergenic dogs are better suited for allergy sufferers and those who want to keep their homes relatively free of dog fur than others are.
The Life Cycle of Dog Hair
Each hair on a dog goes through its own little life cycle with different phases. These phases include:
Anagen Phase. The hairs are actively growing
Catagen Phase. The hairs have stopped growing and remain in place
Telogen Phase. The hairs begin to fall out to then be replaced with new hairs
So, as soon as the dog’s hair reaches its predetermined length, it then falls out to make room for the new coat to grow in. Shedding is what happens in the undercoat, also known as the Shed.
Seasonal Large Dog Shedding
Dogs will also often lose their winter coats during the spring months as the weather begins to warm up. The replacement coat is typically a lot shorter and lighter.
Once fall hits, however, this cycle is then switched around, allowing for the thicker coats to begin growing in again.
This occurs with double-coated breeds, including collies and shelties. They typically have longer overcoats with an insulating undercoat.
Like with regular shedding, seasonal shedding is also normal.
You should only be concerned if you notice that the shedding becomes heavier because this can be a sign of a health problem, including coat problems or could be due to the lack of nutrition in their diet.
13 Big Dogs That Don’t Shed Much
If shed dog hair frustrates you or makes you a miserable, sneezing mess, you’ll want to try to pick ‘non-shedding dogs’.
This is especially important for those who want to add a large hypoallergenic dog to their family, as big dogs produce more hair than smaller dogs because they simply have more hair follicles.
Again, while it’s important to note all dogs actually shed, fortunately, there are several great large non-shedding dogs that shed much less than their counterparts.
1. Standard Poodle
Despite their curly and comical coats, the standard poodle is a very light shedder who usually shows up on most hypoallergenic large dog lists.
In fact, they’ve been crossed with golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers to create dogs with the personality of a retriever with the low-shed coat of the poodle.
Poodles are smart, loyal and loving with their owners, and they are surprisingly effective as guard dogs.
2. Afghan Hound
Afghan hounds are elegant and graceful dogs, with long, silky hair and a gentle personality. Originally developed to hunt small game, Afghans are very quick on their feet, and they have very sharp eyesight to help them locate their quarry at a distance.
Although Afghan hounds are large dogs that don’t shed very much, they do require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition and looking its best.
3. Giant Schnauzer
Like most other schnauzers, giant schnauzers are low shedding large dogs, despite their thick, dense fur. Giant Schnauzers are intelligent, loving companions, but they can be stubborn and headstrong.
This makes them a poor choice for most novices; they need a calm, confident owner who can exude leadership in a way the dog will understand.
4. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese water dogs are friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs who are bursting with energy. They make an excellent companion dog for older kids, and they generally get along with most people they meet.
However, the Portuguese water dog is not well-suited for couch-potato families, who spend most of their time on the couch. These dogs want to get out and go for walks, play fetch or swim – their favorite activity.
5. Irish Water Spaniel
Although some people may not consider Irish water spaniels “large,” big males often approach 70 pounds in weight, which is certainly not “small.” The Irish water spaniel is goofy, fun-loving and comical, and serves as non-stop entertainment for their families.
As their name implies, these dogs love to swim, and you’ll want to make sure you give yours plenty of opportunities to do so.
The Komondor has an unusual coat, comprised of long “cords” or hair that bear a passing resemblance to dreadlocks.
Dedicated, brave and intelligent, Komondors were originally developed as watchdogs (their long, white coat helped to make the sheep they were tasked with guarding more comfortable).
The hypoallergenic Komondor is a low shedding large dog, and you won’t need to brush him, but Komondors do require regular coat care to keep their cords clean and healthy.
Komondors require a strong, assertive leader and plenty of socialization to prevent aggression.
7. Airedale Terrier
Another breed that could be considered “large” or “medium,” depending on your own criteria regarding size, Airedale Terriers are friendly, affectionate and playful dogs who require large amounts of exercise to remain healthy and happy.
But while Airedales love their families and bond strongly with their owners, they are a bit of a stubborn breed, who tend to remain slightly independent throughout their lives.
8. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois vary a good bit in size, and some individuals will remain in the 40- to 50-pound range, while others may exceed 80 pounds.
Nevertheless, thanks to their intensity, bravery and assertive demeanor, they certainly give the impression of being a big dog.
With a short straight outer coat, Malinois are large dog breeds that don’t shed much, especially compared to a German Shepherd, for which share some common physical characteristics. They also aren’t known to drool excessively, making them a great choice for allergy sufferers.
However, Belgian Malinois are absolutely inappropriate for novices, as they require a firm, confident leader, who will train and socialize them properly.
9. Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres is a large dog that doesn’t shed much. It was bred to be an all-around working dog on cattle ranches in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
After WWII, when many farms in the area were destroyed, Bouviers became police, military, and guide dogs. They are strong working dogs and do best with experienced owners.
This versatile hypoallergenic dog breed needs a good amount of exercise and a lot of grooming. Their non-shedding coat needs a lot of brushing to prevent tangles and mats.
10. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Often referred to as the “supreme gundog,” the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon can point, flush, and retrieve game birds, waterfowl, and hares.
When not used for hunting, they need plenty of exercise, preferably off-leash in a fenced-in yard or dog park. They aren’t well-suited to apartment living.
The wiry coat doesn’t shed much but needs weekly brushing to prevent tangles and remove undercoat that gets stuck in the wiry hair. They may need occasional hand-stripping.
11. Black Russian Terrier
A newer breed, the Black Russian Terrier was developed between the two World Wars as a police and military dog. With a thick coat that doesn’t shed much, it would keep the dog warm during the harsh Siberian winters.
To give you an idea of their lineage, a few of the breeds used to develop the BRT including the Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, and Newfoundland.
The coat of the BRT needs regular brushing to prevent mats, and the hair around their eyes needs to be trimmed periodically so they can see.
12. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog’s fluffy coat adds to their goofy personalities but make no mistake – these dogs were bred to work all day.
They weren’t actually developed to herd sheep. They were primarily bred to drove cattle to the market to be sold and butchered.
The Old English Sheepdog is also a movie star, seen in the “Shaggy Dog” movies. Although considered a hypoallergenic large non-shedding dog, the OES needs daily brushing, especially if you want to keep the coat long and fluffy.
Many owners opt for shorter cuts, which still need regular brushing.
13. Bearded Collie
The Bearded Collie looks somewhat like a skinny Old English Sheepdog that got caught out in the rain.
Like the OES, the Bearded Collie was bred as a cattle drover, but they were also used as sheepdogs. They have plenty of energy and need a lot of exercise.
The Bearded Collie, especially if left in full coat, needs daily maintenance brushing and weekly detail brushing to remove knots, mats, or other tangles that weren’t brushed out during the week.
Dog Breeds That Shed the Most
For a few examples of large dog breeds, you want to stay clear of if you are looking for a large hypoallergenic dog that won’t shed as much, read on below.
The following are some of the dog breeds that shed the most.
This breed is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world. They are large, agile, and have a very noble character. They are often employed as working dogs and make great companions.
The German Shepherd is also one large dog breed that constantly sheds. They typically shed their coat at least twice per year and you will still find steady shedding between those times as well.
This is another large dog breed that sheds its coat at least twice per year. While they are friendly, compassionate, and affectionate dogs, they still require a fair amount of maintenance due to how much hair they shed.
A Golden Retriever sheds its hair moderately throughout the year and then becomes worse during the spring and fall seasons. You will definitely want to have a good pet vacuum on hand to help clean up the mess from their shedding.
READ MORE: 7 Tips to Manage Golden Retriever Shedding
These dogs, also affectionately known as Shelties, shed very heavily. The Shetland Sheepdog has a very high sensitivity level and can be very affectionate with their family and even strangers and are incredibly kid-friendly dogs.
This breed of dog isn’t nearly as large as the other breeds discussed, but their shedding warrants a closer look at this medium-sized dog breed.
One of the biggest problems faced by Sheltie owners is the massive amount of shedding that happens throughout the year. When not groomed properly, you may also find tangled and matted up hair behind their ears.
The Problem with Dog Hair Shedding
Some owners view the shedding of their large breed dogs as nothing more than a minor inconvenience, but others find it absolutely maddening, especially for those allergic to dogs.
Large amounts of dog hair shed can coat everything you own and ruin the aesthetics of your furniture, curtains, and clothing. If the problem gets bad enough, you’ll surely see tumbleweed-like clumps of hair rolling across your floors.
But while these problems are annoying, they aren’t as bad as those experienced by owners with dog allergies.
In itself, dog hair shedding won’t trigger pet allergies – it is actually the saliva and dander clinging to the shed hair that causes sniffling noses and watering eyes.
When your big dog’s shed hair starts floating around your home, it can bring you into more regular contact with the problematic proteins that trigger allergies, which will keep you pretty miserable.
Home Remedies to Stop Dog Shedding
You can certainly reduce the amount of shed dog hair in your home by selecting one of the hypoallergenic dogs mentioned above, but you can also take a number of steps to help keep your home as hair-free as possible.
Some of the most effective home remedies to stop dog shedding include:
- Brush your dog regularly to remove shed hairs before they fall off. If you simply make a habit of brushing your dog outside about once or twice per week, you’ll surely notice a decrease in the amount of shed fur in your home. This is especially important during the spring and fall when many dogs shed heavily.
- Bathe your dog frequently to help wash off excess fur. Every time you bathe your dog, you’ll end up removing countless hairs before they have a chance to end up on your floor. Just be sure not to bathe your dog too frequently, as this can cause coat problems that may actually cause an increase in shedding. One bath a month is generally sufficient. Check out our guide to the best dog shampoos for shedding for some specific recommendations.
- Feed your dog a nutritious diet to help support hair-follicle health. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids will help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, and it will generally reduce the amount of shedding your dog exhibits. Look for ingredients like flaxseed, salmon and fish oil – all of which are rich in omega-3s – on the ingredient label of your dog’s food.
- Take your dog swimming as much as possible. Like bathing, swimming helps to wash away excess fur before it can fall out. And because your dog will usually be swimming in a lake or pool, rather than your bathtub, you won’t have to clean up a mess afterward.
- Have your dog groomed regularly. While some dogs can go their whole lives without ever needing to be groomed, others – including poodles, Komondors, and Afghan hounds, among others – must be groomed regularly to keep their coat healthy. By doing so, you’ll help reduce the amount of hair your dog sheds, and you’ll also sidestep the cleanup process, as the hair will end up on the floor of your groomer’s office, rather than your home.
- Treat any hair or skin problems promptly. Skin allergies, ringworm, mites, and other health problems can cause your dog’s skin to become dry and damaged, and it can increase the amount of hair your dog sheds. Accordingly, you should always visit the vet at the first sign of a skin or coat problem.
Tips for Cleaning Up Shedding from Big Dogs
Now that you know how to cut down on the excessive shedding, you should also know how to clean up the mess in the home when it happens.
One of the best ways to keep the home hair-free is to make sure you are regularly cleaning the home. This includes daily vacuuming of the carpets and even furniture.
Sweeping is also good to get rid of the hairs lurking around other parts of the home.
You want to make sure to clean it up regularly, so the hair doesn’t get thrown into the air and then settle into other areas. For this reason, as well, you should sweep and then vacuum so you can pick up the stray hairs that may have floated to other areas.
You can also take more preventative measures in the home to cut down on the amount of time you spend vacuuming by covering your furniture. You can do this with throws very easily.
Also, when it comes time to wash them, you simply remove them and toss them in the washing machine.
Be sure to check out our guide: The 7 Best Pet Vacuums for Pet Hair
Final Thoughts on Large Dogs That Don’t Shed
Do you own one of the large hypoallergenic dog breeds on our list? Are there any ‘non-shedding’ big dogs we missed?
What about the opposite? Have you ever owned a dog that buried you under a pile of shed fur?
We’d love to hear about your experiences, including the things you did to help keep your big dog’s shedding to a minimum.
Let us know all about it in the comments below.